Updated on August 21st, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 30
If you found a twenty dollar bill in the parking lot, what would you do?
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You would turn the money in at the member service desk or to a store manager! The interviewer needs to hear that you are honest and ethical. In this situation, the best thing to do is to turn the money in, and it is what the interviewer expects to hear from you.
"I could never keep money that was not mine. Perhaps the person who dropped the money may desperately need that $20 today, and turning it in would give them a better chance of finding the money."
Be candid with the interviewer about if you have or have had a Costco membership. If you currently shop at Costco, that's great! Be sure to mention how much you enjoy your membership and shopping at Costco. If you have had a Costco membership in the past, be sure to say that you have shopped at Costco, and you liked it! If you do not buy at Costco, that is okay too! Merely share that you do not currently shop at Costco, but you hear wonderful things about it all the time and look forward to being part of the team.
"When my kids were younger, and living in the house, my Costco membership is what saved me! Time wise and financially. Now that they are off to college, my visits are less frequent, but this is still my go-to place for holiday shopping."
Community Answers with Professional Feedback
"Yes, my father has a business membership with Costco and my husband, and I are on the plan. We love buying bulk household supplies, and we often grab lunch while we are shopping as well."
Rachelle Enns' Professional Opinion:
Your answer is nice and specific, which the interviewer will appreciate :)
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Why do you want to work here and why should we hire you?
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Costco's focus is bringing its members quality, brand-name, products at great prices. Tell the interviewer that you support Costco's goal of providing families with these great products and reasonable prices. Recognize that you would be helping create an environment where friends, family, and business colleagues come to shop together. Be excited to share that you would get to be a part of something great by being an employee at Costco!
Why should they hire you? Talking about ourselves in this way can be challenging. If you are unsure, talk about to a few colleagues, family members, and friends. Ask them for their opinion. You'll probably be surprised at the consistency in their responses! Their answers will give you insight into how to answer this part of the question. Tell the interviewer what sets you apart, and explain how your co-workers, family members, and friends have encouraged you with your gift in this area.
"I want to work here because your organization is so huge and offers an incredible amount of opportunity for growth. You should hire me because I would be a loyal and long-term hire. I understand what goes into sourcing, onboarding, and training a new employee and I would be fully dedicated to this process and my potential career growth with Costco."
Tell me about the type of team members you dislike working with.
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Costco is very much a team environment. You will not always be fond of the people you are collaborating with; however, the interviewer needs to know that any inherent dislike will not affect your job performance. Keep your answer positive and focus on your ability to self-manage despite team members who may drag you down.
"I certainly prefer to work with like-minded people who are go-getters and understand the meaning of hard work. It can be frustrating to work with people who have no drive or are lazy in general, but I ignore them and go about my day."
Community Answers with Professional Feedback
"I have a teammate I currently work with that doesn't work efficiently or fast. He can be challenging to work with; however, I have found that if he is focused on helping customers, I can jump in and assist where needed with other customers, data entry, and filling prescriptions. We could work more efficiently if my teammate moved faster, but overall, everything gets finished every day."
Rachelle Enns' Professional Opinion:
Great way to end on a positive note. It sounds like you are very adaptable in the workplace.
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Where do you see yourself in the Costco organization in two years?
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The interviewer wants to hear that you have realistic career progression expectations within Costco.
Tell the interviewer that you are excited about joining the team at Costco, and you anticipate that you will likely be in the same job in two years that you are hired for. If a promotion or another opportunity is available before then, that is great! But, you recognize that it takes time for developments and internal job changes to occur, so in two years, there is a good chance you will still be in the same job title, and that is okay with you! Be sure to mention that your goal is to learn as much as you can, so when the opportunity arises, you can be promoted.
If you are a student, tell the interviewer that you plan to stay at Costco through graduation in the role that you are hired into, and then share what career or further education you hope to be pursuing following graduation. If Costco offers jobs in your field, such as management, be sure to mention that you would be open to considering a career in your area at Costco if one is available upon graduation.
"In two years I would like to be on track for a promotion to assistant manager. I realize that a move like that takes time and dedication; both of which I am more than willing to contribute."
6. If you were given a choice, which work related task would you leave for last? Why? The interviewer at Costco would like to know which tasks you tend to leave for last. Often we will move the tasks that we don't want for last in the act of procrastination. Other times, we will mindfully leave a specific responsibility for last because we feel that it makes the most sense. Help the interviewer to determine which personality type you are by answering this question. Here is an answer example: "I am not a procrastinator; however, I would push the store cleaning to the end of the day if it were possible. It feels better to leave the store in pristine condition!"7. What motivates you to work hard? We all have different things that motivate us. Goals drive some of us. Some of us are excited by having someone we look up to, who mentors us. Some of us are motivated by great leadership. Think about your life; what has been your primary motivator? Staying away from answers that involve money is always a good idea. Simply share, with the interviewer, what drives you to excel and achieve. Here is an answer example: "I was always raised to have an excellent work ethic which means that I work hard, every day. I show up when I am expected, and I give my all to my employer. I especially like to work hard for my customers, making them feel special and cared for when they are in my store."8. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for customer service? Talking about a time when you calmed an upset customer can be an excellent example for this question. Be ready to talk about the time you went above and beyond with handling a customer complaint. Explain how you listened to every word the customer had to say. Next, describe how you apologized to the customer with a calm voice and sincere heart. Finally, be sure to tell the interviewer what solution you offered the customer. Perhaps you did not charge them for a meal if it was in a restaurant. Maybe you offered a new dish for them to try. Be sure to close with how happy the customer was when they left! Here is an answer example: "In my current job, at the athletic store, I often have customers who are just starting to get into an active and healthy lifestyle. I will ask them discovery questions regarding their goals, their level of activity, any previous injuries, and more - so that I can properly fit them into the right athletic footwear. During the conversation, I will often mention resources they may like, such as recipe or fitness apps and websites. I want my customers always to feel like they received some added value." Here is an anonymous answer example: "i recently had an experience where i had a patient that needed medications transferred to our store due to her losing all of her medications in los angeles. she was traveling and needed to leave in an hour. i quickly called the pharmacy, transferred the medications, filled the prescriptions, and applied discount coupons to all of her meds so that she could pick them up quickly. she was extremely grateful that we could get her medications for her within an hour and they were relatively inexpensive as well!" In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: You took quick action and gave very good customer service. Nicely done. Great answer!9. When a problem requires a quick solution, how do you respond? When it comes to complex problem solving, decisions are not always readily reached. It takes practice, experience, and confidence to learn what sorts of decisions yield the best results. Walk the interviewer through your process when it comes to making quick decisions. Do you rely on past experiences? Perhaps you go with a gut feeling. Maybe you have read case studies that you lean on in these instances.
Problems that require you to act quickly can be emergency situations such as knowing where the fire extinguisher is and grabbing it fast enough to put out a small grease fire in the company kitchen. Other quick decisions could be if you are asked to take on a new responsibility and are only given five minutes to decide if it's something you are prepared to take on. Going with your gut is a skill, and the more you learn to trust your intuition, the easier it becomes to make these types of decisions. Demonstrate that you are confident and able to react swiftly, should the need arise while working at Costco. Here is an answer example: "I thrive under pressure and always have, so when I'm given a time-sensitive situation to address, I light up and get down to business. I am more impactful and even more creative when I have little time to do much besides jump in and take charge. This ability to make fast decisions is especially helpful in my role as manager when there is an inventory, personnel, or customer issue."10. Do you think it is possible to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader? The interviewer wants to know that you can be diplomatic in the workplace, even when you may not agree with your leader. Show the interviewer that it is possible for you to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader from time to time. Explain that you believe everyone is entitled to their own professional opinion, yet capable of maintaining respect for each other at the same time. Show that even if you disagree with the final decision they make, you support the direction the team is heading. Here is an answer example: "I do wish to work with a leader with whom I agree most of the time. This agreeance doesn't have to be all of the time, but I do work best with leaders whom I understand and can communicate with effectively."11. Describe to me a perfect retail environment. Think about what you like best about retail environments, and be ready to list 3-4 things that make a retail environment perfect. You might share things like:
- Bright lights
- Uncluttered wide aisles
- Fun merchandise
- A welcoming staff
Whatever it is that you like about the retail environment at Costco, be ready to share it with the interviewer! Here is an answer example: "I love the work environment at Costco because everything is easy to find, and the variety is great. The music you play is enjoyable as well. Your staff is welcoming, and I always find something unique."12. How well do you handle customer complaints? Addressing customer complaints is an essential part of customer service, and the interviewer wants to hear that you are okay talking through a customer's complaint. Tell the interviewer that you do not mind addressing customer complaints, and you recognize that most customers have good intentions when coming forth with an issue.
Tell the interviewer that you take time to listen to everything the customer has to say first to ensure you truly understand what they are upset about. Next, share that you make eye contact with the customer and sincerely apologize to them. Finally, be sure to mention that you offer to correct any mistakes that were made or take the appropriate action to rectify the situation. Here is an answer example: "I would rate myself as an 8/10 when it comes to my customer complaint management skills. I have worked in a retail environment for a few years where these complaints are inevitable; however, I am also interested in learning the Costco way when it comes to handling customer complaints."13. What sources do you look to when you need to solve a complicated problem? The interviewer wants to know that you can think outside the box, or even ask for help when you are stuck on a complicated problem. Maybe you look to a mentor or boss for advice. Perhaps you have handbooks, manuals and systems you turn to for help. Offer some relevant examples based on your industry. If you work in the medical field, you may turn to textbooks, online research, colleagues or even patient's history to find the right solution. If you work in customer service, you may ask the customer what they need to find the best way to solve the problem. Show the interviewer that you are knowledgeable and equipped to handle these types of scenarios. Here is an answer example: "When faced with a complicated problem, I will look to the resources that my current company has provided me. The answer is almost always in there. If it's more of a moral dilemma vs. a knowledge-based dilemma, I will ask my supervisor for his thoughts and opinion since I value him as a mentor and expert in our industry."14. Tell me about your experience in working in retail. The interviewer wants to learn more about your background and experience.
If you don't have any experience, it's okay! Tell the interviewer that you do not have any experience in the industry, and you look forward to making the transition and learning everything there is to know! You can rely on your volunteer work, if you have any, and discuss the parallels to retail such as being customer facing or providing a valuable service.
If you have experience in retail, share where you have worked, your job title, and how long you were employed there. Add a sentence or two about what your job duties were in each role as well. Be sure to mention that you really enjoy this industry, and you look forward to continuing to work in retail industry roles. Also, refer to any key achievements. Here is an answer example: "I have worked in a retail environment for the past three years, often being voted as the employee of the month. I have some training in inventory management, customer service, and dispute resolution. I look forward to furthering retail training with Costco." Here is an anonymous answer example: "i have been working in cvs pharmacy for over five years. i initially began at cvs as a pharmacy technician extern and was offered a job. in eight months, i was promoted to a senior technician, and more recently i have been promoted to a pharmacy intern. i have learned a lot during my time with walgreens such as problem-solving, multi-tasking, and time management." In response to the anonymous answer example, here is what Rachelle Enns said: It's great that you mentioned yous quick job promotion, and the skills you have gained. In this response, you outline your work history in a way that is easy to understand and follow.15. What are some of your weaknesses? Pick weaknesses that are not a core skill for this position. You can be candid in your answer; recognizing that you aren't great at something and acknowledging your need to improve. Be sure to have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness.
Perhaps you are watching TED talks to gain skills in a particular area, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center. We are all human with our weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours! Here is an answer example: "Everyone has weaknesses. I tend to be too nice sometimes. When vendors are not fulfilling their requirements, I tend to believe there must be a logical and understandable reason. I have to remind myself that we are paying for a service and they must meet our expectations."16. How would your references describe you? The interviewer wants to hear that your references will positively describe you. Think about the positive things your references have said about you in the past. Be specific about what each reference may say about you by including an example of when you made an impact on their lives. For instance, you might say, "My reference, John Smith, has told me that I am a hard worker, and he has told me that he likes how I am always happy to be at work!" These concrete examples will be sure to impress the interviewer! Here is an answer example: "My reference, John Smith, has told me that I am a hard worker, and he has told me that he likes how I am always happy to be at work!"17. What are your greatest strenghts? Which personal strengths make you excellent at your job? Strengths can be skills or qualities that help you overcome difficult circumstances or accomplish challenging tasks. In a work context, your strengths will help you to complete your to-do list, understand client needs, and help you to apply what you have learned in your training. Talk to the interviewer about a couple of your strengths and why those will help you to be successful in this role. If you can tie your strengths into the qualities mentioned in the job posting, even better!
Some great strengths to mention are:
- Tech Savvy
- Flexible in Schedule/Availability
- Persistent and Determined
- Eager for Knowledge/New Skills Here is an answer example: "My strongest skills that help me on a daily basis are my people-skills, and the ability to close a sale without being pushy. I relate to the customer, get to know them and their needs, build excellent rapport and can make solid recommendations that suit them. They buy, return, and repeat. And it is something I enjoy a lot. I love to see my regulars, hear about their lives, help them look and feel their best!"18. What is your personal mission statement? The interviewer would like to know if you have a personal motto or mantra. Not everyone has a mission statement or personal mantra just off the cuff. In business, especially when entering leadership, this is an important question to ponder. Do you have a quote that inspires you or a saying that you grew up with that resonates with you? Here is an answer example: "My mission statement is to love myself first, stick up for others, and make the world a better place than it was when I arrived here. I am big on mindfulness, and this mental shift in me has made me a better person."19. Tell me about a time when you led a team. What was your biggest success factor? The interviewer would like to hear about a time that you led a team, with a positive outcome. Showcase for the interviewer the primary factors that made your leadership style a success. Your example could come from the workplace or perhaps a time when you led a group project during your post-secondary studies. Be sure to tie in how your leadership skills will benefit the team at Costco. Here is an answer example: "Just last month I was asked to lead our day shift employees when my boss was away on sick leave. I took charge for two weeks, and the experience was quite positive! I believe the biggest success factor was that I tried to emulate his leadership style and did ask his help when I wasn't sure what to do. I feel this experience prepared me for a leadership role. I am excited to take on a team lead role again."20. How do you define good member service? Tell the interviewer that excellent member service is having a positive attitude and doing what it takes to ensure the customer comes back to your store. You might share that you think excellent customer service means having a smile on your face, saying please & thank you, and providing a great experience for the member. Here is an answer example: "To me, great member service means that my customers are happier when they leave than when they initially arrived. I want every Costco member to feel like they received their money's worth from their membership commitment. This contentment should come from excellent service and variety in new products."21. What do you know about Costco's working environment? Start off by telling the interviewer that you know Costco cares about its employees, and they like to ensure their staff is respected. Be sure to mention that you know Costco supports workplace equality for its employees, and they are focused on workplace ethics and obeying the law. Costco's website will also tell you that they are "a fast-paced team environment filled with challenges and opportunities." These are all great things to share with the interviewer! Here is an answer example: "a fast-paced team environment filled with challenges and opportunities."22. How does Costco fit into your overall career plans? The interviewer hopes to hear that you will stay with the company long-term.
If you are a student, tell the interviewer that you plan to stay at Costco through graduation, and then share what career or further education you hope to be pursuing following graduation. If Costco offers jobs in your field, such as management, be sure to mention that you would be open to considering a career in your area at Costco if one is available upon graduating.
If you are not a student, no problem! Simply share that you see yourself working at Costco long-term, and share if you desire to be promoted at some point in your career along with what promotion you might be interested in. You might say something like, "I see myself working at Costco long-term. I would like to start out as a Cashier, and I hope to be promoted to a management position within the next 5-10 years." Here is an answer example: "I see myself working at Costco long-term. I would like to start out as a Cashier, and I hope to be promoted to a management position within the next 5-10 years."23. Would you enjoy handing out samples, socializing and promoting products to Costco members? If you are applying for a job in a Costco store, then your answer should be very receptive to this type of task! The interviewer wants to hear that you are comfortable conversing with other people. As a customer service person, you are definitely a sociable person. Explain to the interviewer that you enjoy getting to know your co-workers, work hard to build relationships with your regular customers through simple interactions, and look forward coming to work each day in customer service. You might work best in a large group setting, or one-on-one interactions might be your thing. Either way, you are a sociable person, and you are okay promoting products to members. Here is an answer example: "I think it would be great fun to converse with Costco members, encouraging them to try new products. I also think it would be enjoyable to gather feedback and thoughts on the customers' reactions to new products."24. What is your best personal trait? The interviewer wants to learn more about who you are, at the core. Think about the one thing that people repeatedly commend you for; this is your answer to this question! If you are not sure of what to mention, you can take a free personality test, like 16personalities.com and comb through your results for ideas. Here is an answer example: "I have been told that my best trait is my ability to relate to people. My co-workers often mention that they really admire this trait. I can strike up a meaningful conversation with nearly anyone."25. You have been out of work for a while, what have you been doing? If you have a gap in your employment history, be prepared to discuss what you have been doing during this time. The interviewer needs to hear that you have been doing something productive with your time. You might share how you have been spending your days searching for jobs. Perhaps you have been caring for a loved one who is ill. Maybe you have been lucky enough to take a European vacation. Or, perhaps you have been furthering your education. Just share with the interviewer how you have been productive with your time. Here is an answer example: "I have been out of work for the past three months; however, I have not been stagnant. I took a trip to Italy to see family and have been doing a significant amount of community outreach work to fill my time while I look for that perfect position."26. Tell me about a time when you had to be a leader. How was the outcome? The interviewer wants to hear about a positive experience you have had with leadership. Think about a time when you led a sports team, led a college project, managed a store, or coached a little league team. These are all great examples!
Talk about your desire to be a leader with Costco in the future. Share with the interviewer that you strive to be a role model for others. Explain that you jump at the opportunity to lead groups, encourage your counterparts, and be a face of the organization when challenges arise. Here is an answer example: "In my current position, I am the president of the social committee. I love that I have the opportunity to encourage employee engagement while being a positive influence on the workplace culture. I am a natural leader because I start with leading by example. As a leader, I make myself available to others who need mentor-ship, a bit of assistance in adjusting to their role, or just a listening ear when they've had a tough day. I am confident in my leadership abilities and look forward to joining your team in a leadership role."27. What would you do if a coworker asked you to help them steal? The interviewer would like to know how you would react if put in an awkward, or potentially harmful situation like being asked by a co-worker to steal with them. Theft can occur in many ways in the workplace and is not necessarily reserved to blatantly taking a product. Ensure that you are aware of the different ways a co-worker may try to pass stealing off as 'no big deal.'
- Timecard fabrication, also known as "buddy punching" where you punch in for a coworker who is not present
- 'Borrowing' money from the cash register
- Falsifying vendor or expense accounts
- Taking items from the lost and found
- Stealing data or documents containing trade secrets
- Taking expensive office supplies like ink, or adding personal items to supply orders
- Billing hours to clients that they did not work
Of course, you already know how to answer this question! Express that you would never engage in this type of behavior and discuss how you would go about reporting this type of situation. If this has happened to you in the past, you can talk about the case. Here is an answer example: "buddy punching"28. What position at Costco would you most like to work? As with any job interview, we recommend visiting the company website before arriving to learn what opportunities exist. You might be interested in an office job if a Costco office is located near you. You might be interested in becoming a Cake Decorator, a Cashier, a Meat Cutter, a Pharmacy Manager, a Stocker, or a Tire Installer to name a few!
Just visit the website before arriving at your interview, and be prepared for one role that you specifically have your eye on. Be sure to mention the position that you specifically applied to on the company website as well. Here is an answer example: "I truly am willing to start anywhere, to show you that I am a valuable member of the Costco team. With that said, my biggest interest is in the bakery. I love baking and cake decorating. I often take custom orders from my family and friends, just for fun!"29. How do you expect to make a difference at Costco? The interviewer wants to hear that you are passionate about working at Costco and have thought about how you can make a positive impact while working there. Think about what kind of impact you could make. Possible things that might come to mind are:
- Creating a favorable environment for members by smiling, asking them if you can help them find something, and providing them with excellent service.
- Building business relationships with your co-workers, so everyone looks forward to coming to work each day.
- By helping ensure a place that provides solutions for birthday gifts, wedding gifts, baby gifts, home decor, and all the other fun things we look forward to shopping for!
Whatever comes to mind that you are passionate about, share it with the interviewer! Here is an answer example: "I expect to make a difference at Costco by being a team member who encourages a high-performance, positive workplace mindset. I want to ensure that the customers at this location are always happy to be here and that they find what they need."30. What questions do you have for me? It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the company website and other online resources to ensure the questions you are asking are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of items you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their company site!
Here are some sample questions:
- When would you like to have this position filled?
- How long has this role been vacant?
- Is this a replacement search or a newly created role?
- What is your favorite part about working here?
- What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months?
- Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you?
- What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years?
- Is there any reason why you would not hire me? Here is an answer example: "I would like to ask if there is anything in my background on which you need clarification? Also, after discussing everything today, is there any particular reason why I would not be the best fit for this executive assistant role?"
Author of Costco Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 04/17/2012 Last modified on: 08/21/2018
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